If you’ve been following my progress, you’ll know that I’ve been working on learning basic chords and strumming patterns. Now, it’s time to make the pain worthwhile by learning a song. I have decided to try “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, so I’ve been searching for music and lessons.
I’ve found an app called… wait for it… Guitar Chords and Tabs. I simply search the song or artist and the app provides ranked options of both chord and tab versions of the song. (The app will also come up with options for ukulele and bass.) It’s easy to read the lyrics and the chords on my small phone screen, which is impressive and convenient. However, this app doesn’t indicate what the strumming patterns should be.
I have been using Guitar Tricks, GarageBand, and Chordbook for some lessons about tuning, technique, and chords and although they offer some great beginner learning experiences, I feel ready to try to something slightly more complicated. Guitar Tricks offers limited access to song lessons for users like me, who have signed up for free, and GarageBand and Chordbook don’t teach songs at all. So, I did a YouTube search for lessons and found MunsunMusicLive, which is a fantastic channel. Munsun has uploaded hundreds of videos of himself playing and singing popular songs on both guitar and piano, and while he’s playing the lyrics and chords appear on the screen. It’s a great option for learning the strumming patterns. I can’t keep up with him yet, so I still practice slowly on my own, while following along on the Guitar Chords and Tabs app.
Here’s Munsun’s lesson for “Brown Eyed Girl.”
Munsun’s videos are great if you already know how to play the chords in the songs that he has uploaded, but Drue James goes a step further on his YouTube channel with lessons that are broken down into categories based on your skill level, and by providing instructional lessons.
In my search to find songs to play, I’ve also realized that most people learn how to play using tab. When I was studying to be a music teacher in university, we would have heated conversations about whether students should learn to play using chords and reading music notation, or to learn by using tab. My goal for next week is to learn how to read tab and find tab for “Brown Eyed Girl.” I’d like to know which method is easier for beginners to use, so that if I end up teaching guitar at some point in my career, I can make an informed decision.
Ultimately, people who learn to play any instrument, regardless of the method, do so because they love music and have fun playing. And that’s really what it’s all about.